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Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Full Day of Lion Conference

Yesterday was our first full day at Lion Conference. In the morning I worked on Faye’s closing night speech with her for two hours—she needed to put it in her own words vs what we wrote for her. The end product was much better. I had to convince her that Barack Obama and John McCain have speechwriters, and it is OK for her to have them as well.

We set up in the ballroom area of the Tel Aviv Intercontinental. The ILOJC staff gave us a fantastic location and we put the mini-exhibit of her images around the room. The 1,100 attendees gathered in the room for a pre-dinner mixer before the opening plenary and dinner in the same area. We met a lot of supporters of JPEF there including Rick and Claudia Felson, Diane Wohl, and Ann Bear. Rick, who’s dad was a partisan took a special liking to Faye (and she to him). Rick tried to convince her to come to San Francisco when we open her exhibit at Berkeley Hillel/Lerhaus in March --I think he might have been successful!

By the end of the evening, there was a line of 15 people by our table, all wanting autographed Faye posters and to talk with her. We made great connections with people from at least 15 different communities across the country who are very eager to bring the exhibit and JPEF to their community including Phoenix, St. Paul, Orange County, Palm Beach, Albuquerque, Chicago, and Houston. We did not leave the hotel until 10:30pm. Faye had a long day and we decided she would take the next day off –especially as it started at 8 am for her back in the same ballrooms.

Faye was impressed by the lack of security on the conference until I showed her the many men with ear pieces around the hotel. They were thrilled to meet her and hear of her experiences. Faye wanted a photo with them.

Here are a few more photos for yesterday as well. The one with the stage and lights was the opening ceremony which incredible production values -- Israeli singers and dancers with explosions of confetti. Faye also saw that many of the speakers were reading from prepared remarks like she will on Saturday night, making her feel much better about the process.

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